2019 Bergdor Goodman Blog In Conversation With: Herve Pierre

In Conversation With: Herve Pierre


Atelier Caito for Herve Pierre is the brainchild of designer Herve Pierre and patternmaker Nicolas Caito, which was established in 2017. The collection stemmed from what they saw as a gap in the market for the perfect dress, incorporating both craftsmanship and superior design. We sat down with Pierre to hear more about his childhood, his education in Paris, and his first memory of Bergdorf Goodman. See more below and shop his collection now available in store on 4.

2018 WWD
Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre Shows Sophomore Collection
Later this month, the team will fly to Paris to show the collection to customers from the Middle East, Russia, Kazakhstan and London.

By Rosemary Feitelberg on June 6, 2018


Photo : Tom Stoelker

A powder pink and midnight blue silk and wool gown with embroidered daisies from Atelier Caito for Herve Pierre.

Buyers, who trekked west to see the Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre collection this week, also got a glimpse of one well-aligned apartment in the Soori High Line. Soo Chan’s SCDA architectural firm created the 11-story, West 29th Street residential building. The space’s floor-to-ceiling windows, Augsburg oak-paneled walls, discrete one-lane swimming pool and spare sunlit terrace shared a similar linear sense to the label’s sophomore collection. “It makes sense. My customer would live here,” Pierre said matter-of-factly.
Chan agreed, offering the yet-to-be rented pad to the designer. Geared for bankers, Wall Street executives and other on-the-move women, the label may not be overly enticing for editorial spreads, but it is a winner with stores. Unable to keep up with demand, the duo and had to cap sales last season. Caito’s wife, Camille, is also involved with the business. Later this month, the team will fly to Paris to show the collection to customers from the Middle East, Russia, Kazakhstan and London.

Nicolas Caito & Hervé Pierre of Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre

Having spent the earliest days of my fashion career on 7th avenue, I have always been fascinated and intrigued by what happened “behind” the environment of the showroom or as we used to say … “in the back.” By that I mean the pattern makers, the cutters and the entire sample making process from sketch to reality...the transformative process of creating a garment.  This ongoing fascination led me to Nicolas Caito several years ago when he had his pattern making/sample making workspace on Chambers Street and my fascination was reignited with the magic and skillsets that his work requires and produces.

Needless to say that when the announcement was made that he joined forces with Hervé Pierre, I was quick to send congratulations as well as offer this interview. Being able to put friendship ahead of my personal feelings did not take long to overlook an affiliation that, to say the least repelled me, but friends are harder to come by and loyalty has its place and value especially in business. So with all that said, here we have Nicolas speaking for he and his partner about their new and exciting venture … Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre

I am of the opinion that it may just be time that women will again begin to wear clothes ...  not just gym clothes, jeans and sweats, but clothes… as in dinner dresses, cocktail dresses, luncheon dresses and formals that exude an elegance that has been lost along with the passage of time in some demented way of staying "relevant." These  two men combine old world skills with  modern design to create for a 21st century woman who wishes to stand out from the flock by looking slick, refined, chic, if that exists anymore, and above all wearing clothes utilizing the expertise and craft used by the greats of fashion.

Jeffrey Felner: Can you give us a little history as to how you both met and how this venture came to be?
Nicolas Caito: We met here in New York City when Lars Nilson and Hervé Pierre were design directors at Bill Blass. They were looking for someone to manage the eveningwear sample room, that's when Francois Bouchet (the Premier d'Atelier at the time at Oscar De La Renta but also a dear friend of ours and mainly my mentor who trained me during 8 years at Lanvin ) put us in contact .
After 2 years at Bill Blass, Hervé went to Carolina Herrera to become the creative director of the brand, a position that he held for 15 years;  I went back to Paris to become the manager of the sample room at Rochas for 2 years while Olivier Theskeyns was the creative director. Two years later, I was back to New York City and the creation/birth of Atelier Nicolas Caito .
It is only recently that Hervé and I started working again together on special projects and private clients, until one morning in August, I woke up with this “calling” that we had to create a line together! We have the same education, the same kind of background and Hervé has such a respect, passion and love for craftsmanship that he is the only person in New York I could consider starting a new venture with !
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Debut of Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre
Atelier Caito For Herve Pierre Prima Darling

Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre, was launched last night at a tasteful champagne reception in Soho. The twelve evening and cocktail dresses, displayed on mannequins, allowed the well heeled industry types, including Carolina Herrera and Adrienne Vittadini, to appreciate the subtle details and intricate seaming of each piece. There was a lot of love in the room for Hervé Pierre and Nicolas Caito. Their slow fashion approach with an emphasis on quality, craft and timeless style resonated with this crowd.

Atelier Caito For Herve Pierre Prima Darling

One of my favorite gowns.

It’s a very gutsy prospect to throw yet another hat into a very crowded ring. Every fashion week cycle the grumblings start anew, too many shows, too much product and hard to make sense of it all. With the advent of huge public fashion conglomerates it’s harder than ever for a start up to get a place at the table. Yet there are those who still take on the challenge. A small entity can have a competitive edge when they offer a level of specialization and expertise that may get lost in the frantic pace and high talent turnover of corporate entities. Last week I wrote about the small Paris based company Pallas, which offers expertise in tailoring. This week the opening of Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre offers unrivaled expertise in the art of designing and constructing the dress.

Herve Pierre and Carolina Herrera Prima Darling

Carolina Herrera and Hervé Pierre together again

Hervé Pierre has been working behind the scenes for high profile houses his entire career. In 1991 he was named creative director for Balmain in Paris. At 26 he was one of the youngest designers in the history of couture. When Oscar de la Renta took over design for Balmain Couture he lured Pierre to New York to join his studio. I worked in the design studio of de la Renta after Hervé left for Vera Wang and later Bill Blass. Stories were still buzzing there of this amazingly talented French designer, as funny as he was creative. He then went to Carolina Herrera where he was the creative director for fourteen years. It was there that I finally had the pleasure of meeting and working with Hervé. He is one of the most talented people I know; in fashion and everything he touches. This video, which appeared on nytimes online in September, will give you a taste of his unique persona.

Atelier Caito for Herve Pierre Prima Darling
A chic cocktail dress

Nicolas Caito, the other half of Atelier Caito for Hervé Pierre, has an equally compelling history. He began at Lanvin and was premier atelier (head draper and in charge of the sample room) at Hermes when Martin Margiela was the creative director. I remember that as a particularly fertile time for Hermes ready to wear. Caito then spent two years in New York where he met Pierre while they both worked for Bill Blass. He returned to Paris to work at Rochas with Oliver Theyskens. Then one morning he woke up and decided to move back to New York and open his own atelier. In 2005 he established Atelier Caito in New York’s garment center and immediately attracted a top tier clientele such as Calvin Klein when Francisco Costa was creative director, Proenza Schouler and Zac Posen.


Hervé Pierre and Nicolas Caito Prima Darling

Hervé Pierre left with Nicolas Caito

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Hervé Pierre à Paris

Il n’est resté que 3 jours à Paris et a fait un « carton » auprès des acheteurs. Pas de journaliste (sauf moi ), rien que du business avec une douzaine de robes plus belles, plus « classe » et intelligentes les unes que les autres, présentées dans un très élégant appartement parisien.

Robes de jours, de cocktail, du soir. Et quelles robes !Hervé Pierre a travaillé avec les plus grands couturiers, Oscar de la Renta chez Balmain, Dior avec Marc Bohan, puis aux USA ou il signait la création chez Oscar de la Renta, Vera Waang, Bill Blass, et Carolina Hérerra qu’il a quitté en 2016. Il habille Mélania Trump, mais il a aussi habillé 4 des précédentes premières dames des USA, sans compter les stars : de Marion Cotillard à Anna Wintour en passant par Lady Gaga, Diane Kruger ou encore Nicole Kidman.

Il est plus couturier que styliste, à mon avis. Il sait tout faire : dessiner, couper, assembler. Il a surtout un « oeil » et une très jolie observation de l’attitude et des mouvements féminins, il sait où placer la pince, la ceinture , la bretelle, travailler l’emmanchure, la longueur ou l’ampleur pour magnifier la silhouette quelque soit sa perfection, et « ça’ l’ fait », comme l’on dit. Une variation en noir et bleu minuit, simplement chic. Simplement ? A première vue seulement ! Il faut le voir rectifier sur le mannequin, un détail, signaler la fermeture que l’on ne voit pas ou, une poche cachée dans la couture d’un pli, et puis la doublure : une merveille. Ces robes sont le fruit de trente années ans de travail pour d’autres marques. Enfin il crée sa marque ! Les onze robes qui ont défilées (rien que pour moi) sont onze bijoux, onze objets de désir qu’il faut avoir dans son vestiaire.

Ces robes donnent élégance, tenue, glamour à celle qui les porte.

Mais laquelle choisir ?

Trench Gown : faille de soie noire, revers et garnitures en satin duchesse Bleu de minuit. Pour le soir. Parisian style !
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Hervé Pierre: Dressing the First Lady

US First Lady Melania Trump stands alongside the gown she wore to the 2017 inaugural balls, and the gown's designer, Herve Pierre (R), as she donates the dress to the Smithsonian's First Ladies Collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American His (Foto: AFP/Getty Images)

Hervé Pierre and Melania Trump (in Dolce & Gabbana) beside the gown he designed for her to wear to the inaugural ball,
which is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC (Foto: GETTY IMAGES)

Only 12 little black dresses, or perhaps a lush ink-blue, comprise the first collection to carry Hervé Pierre’s name after a quarter of a century in fashion. And it is all thanks to Melania Trump.

Ever since America’s First Lady wore his dress to her husband’s inaugural ball – in pure white, draped off-the-shoulder with a cascading ruffle and narrow red knotted belt – the French-born designer has come out of the shadows and into the limelight.

“Without her, I believe I would still be hidden; I would be a ‘ghost writer’,” says Hervé, who spent 15 years behind the seams at Carolina Herrera, after a stint at Oscar de la Renta. Both designers dressed New York’s upper crust and Hervé can count three former First Ladies as his clients: Hillary Clinton at Oscar; and Laura Bush and Michelle Obama at Herrera.

About Melania – whom the designer refers to always as “the First Lady” – he is understandably cagey, saying only that he has made four dresses for her; that he also acts as stylist by suggesting other outfits; that, yes, he meets with her; and that she communicates a lot by text.

“My role is to dress the First Lady and advise her – I’m not a stylist; I am an advisor, and she is adamant about that,” Hervé says. “Who, as a free woman, is going to be told what to wear? It’s a conversation, a collaboration. Without intellectualising, my advice is respectful and it makes sense."

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Hervé Pierre se une a Nicolas Caito para crear una colección cápsula destinada
a todas aquellas que admiran el estilo de Melania Trump

El pasado 14 de noviembre, el WWD publicaba una noticia que aseguraba que Hervé Pierre, el diseñador de confianza de Melania Trump, había llegado a una joint-venture con Nicolas Caito para crear sinergias y confeccionar una colección cápsula compuesta por 12 modelos diseñada pensando en todas aquellas mujeres que se sienten inspiradas por el estilo de Melania Trump.

Algunos de los diseñadores neoyorquinos más influyentes, como Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Zac Posen, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Peter Som, Prabal Gurung, The Row, o J Mendel han confiado, en algún momento, a Nicolás Caito sus diseños más intrincados, convirtiéndolo en el patronista más solicitado de Nueva York.

Pero, ¿quién es Nicolas Caito? Pues Nicolas es un diseñador de origen siciliano que nació el 16 de mayo de 1969, pero que se trasladó junto a su familia a muy temprana edad al sur de Francia donde se crió hasta alcanzar la edad adulta.

El interés inicial de Nicolás Caito por la moda despertó en su juventud durante un viaje a Italia, donde tuvo la oportunidad de observar la complejidad y el arte de la confección de ropa de lujo. Inicialmente eligió la vertiente empresarial de la moda, y en 1989 se licenció en comercio internacional en la Ecole Superieure de Commerce et de Management de Montpelier.

Su tío, un sastre, le propuso entrar como aprendiz en su taller, y en 1992 logró entrar a trabajar en los talleres de la Maison Lanvin, bajo la dirección artística de Dominique Morlotti, a las ordenes de François Bouchet quien actuó para él como un auténtico mentor enseñándole durante largos 8 años la complicada técnica del drapeado.

Tras obtener la plena capacitación según el riguroso aprendizaje de este atelier de alta costura, Nicolas Caito se unió a Hermès como modelista de Martin Margiela en 2000.

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